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Lodi store’s lovable mascot, Champ, vanishes — owners offering a reward for return

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Posted: Friday, July 8, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 8:36 am, Fri Jul 8, 2011.

Champ is just that — a champ. He's considered the store mascot at the small Save Mart store at Hutchins Street and Kettleman Lane.

The young Chihuahua had the run of the small grocery store, to the delight of owners and customers alike.

"He stayed in the store and greeted everybody," said Irene Revell, a regular customer who lives in the neighborhood.

But Champ has disappeared, and the family is frantic. Some have been in tears.

Owner Piara Ghuane was busy counting merchandise for a delivery when Champ went outside at about 2 p.m. on June 30. Nothing unusual about that, but Champ usually runs right back in, Ghuane's adult son, Max Ghuane, explained.

But this time, Max thinks that someone outside picked up Champ and dognapped him. He thinks Champ is OK because he's loved so much.

"A lot of people wanted him," Max Ghuane said. "Nine out of 10 loved him. Five out of 10 had a personal relationship with him."

They love him so much that there's a $1,500 reward for Champ's safe return.

"No questions asked," Max Ghuane said.

"He's like a baby," said Piara Ghuane's wife, Gurdev, who's owned the small neighborhood store for 12 years.

"My mom has been crying all week," Max added.

Max said he's been at the Lodi Animal Shelter almost every day since Champ disappeared, but to no avail.

Champ will turn 2 on July 16, which Max said will mark a sad occasion if the dog isn't returned by then.

Anyone who has seen Champ may call the store at 369-4321.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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3 comments:

  • Joe Baxter posted at 8:49 am on Sun, Jul 10, 2011.

    Joe Baxter Posts: 1799

    The issue here is dognapping. My brother in law had his pug stolen from his place of business (non food industry) in broad daylight during hours of operation. People saw it happen and they still got away with it. These people are scum of the earth. It is one thing to take in a stray animal, quite another one to steal one that belongs to someone else.

     
  • Kevin Paglia posted at 8:28 pm on Sat, Jul 9, 2011.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 1881

    I was wondering the same thing. How can a dog be kept in a store selling food? Isn't this a health code violation?

     
  • Jackson Scott posted at 7:33 pm on Sat, Jul 9, 2011.

    Jackson Scott Posts: 382

    I saw this on Ch13 last night at 5pm.... and I'm sure the SJC Health Department did too.

     

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